Dell Takes Google’s Cloud Services Back in Time

Servers in clouds

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2018

As you would expect, Dell Technologies World 2018 has resulted in a number of new announcements of varying levels of interest. Alongside new approved HCI configuration programs and hardware advances was another, slightly more unusual statement regarding cloud services.

Every vendor conference involves some kind of cloud announcement, but Dell EMC has recently completed a new partnership with Google. Under the terms of the agreement, Google will offer dedicated Isilon disk array hardware access to their customers.


Public cloud services are typically hosted on shared commodity hardware to help keep costs low. At the same time, customers benefit from near infinite scalability – which their current on-site arrays cannot handle. 

By offering dedicated Isilon storage “in the cloud,” Google is effectively negating both of those benefits. Dedicated hardware is always more expensive– and it is subject to exactly the same capacity constraints as on-site Isilon arrays.


With none of the scalability or cost benefits of “true” cloud storage, why would anyone choose to use Google’s Isilon service? According to Dell EMC, the real value lies in more mundane administrative tasks facing existing Isilon users. 

Using a familiar platform, albeit hosted in the cloud, will help, for instance, to alleviate many initial security concerns. Because the technical team is used to working with Isilon arrays, they will also know how to better protect the data stored on them.

Similarly, compliance becomes much easier to achieve and maintain because engineers already know how to configure the environment to adhere to relevant standards and frameworks. These secondary service features will help to save money, although less than would be realized through generic public cloud services from Google. 

Is Isilon in the cloud worth it?

Dell EMC may be pleased with the new deal, but the appeal to their clients is likely to be extremely limited. Most are re-architecting their applications to make use of public cloud services, and with Google lagging far behind Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure in terms of popularity, the potential customer base reduces further still. 

Isilon in the cloud is yet another effort by hardware OEMs to establish a foothold in the hosted infrastructure arena- but whether it is actually profitable for Dell EMC remains to be seen.

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